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Tips for Preventing Alzheimer's

Prevention starts with maintaining better brain health in general. That is what most of the following suggestions aim at. Although some are not proven to specifically prevent Alzheimer's, they are all like to have some beneficial effects in any case, and some have specific evidence for them as noted.

Physical and Mental Exercise

2000 people took part in a study of the effects of physical and mental exercise on brain health. It was found that those who engaged in high levels of reading, physical exercise or even just regular conversation with friends were 38% less likely to get Alzheimer's disease.

Both physical and mental exercise increases blood flow to the brain. This may help it maintain itself and strengthen connections between nerve cells. Also, the evidence shows that we continue to produce new neurons throughout our lives, in response to mental and physical stimulation (referred to as brain plasticity or neuro-plasticity). This building of additional capacity may help prevent the worsening of many age-related brain problems.

Eating Better May Help

There is evidence that any sustained reduction in blood flow to the brain may increase the risk of getting Alzheimer's. This is why brain health may depend on arterial health, which in turn depends on a good diet which prevents cardiovascular disease. In general, this means eating more fiber, fruits and vegetables, and less saturated fats.

Many researchers are convinced that free radical damage plays a role in Alzheimer's developing. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules, and can be counteracted by a diet high in antioxidants. Vitamin C and vitamin E most be the most important of these. You can take supplements, but it is probably better to get more antioxidants through fruits and vegetables like citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, grape juice, nut of various sorts and "good" vegetable oils (olive and canola).

Light to moderate drinking of wine (especially red wine) may also help. A Danish study followed 1,700 people over the age of 65 and found that those who drank at least one glass of red wine per week had a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's. This may be due to the antioxidants in red wines - which you can get from grape juice as well.

Preventing Alzheimer's - Other Tips

Stop smoking. It tends to impair circulation, so it is possible that it may increase the risk of several brain function problems.

Keep your head safe. Head injuries may increase the risk of Alzheimer's later in life, according to some evidence.

Treat depression. Depression is linked to higher cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can cause damage to the brain when it is at high levels over time.

Treat high blood pressure. Keeping blood pressure under control and lowering the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) in your bloodstream may play a role in preventing or delaying the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

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